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Asclepias cancellata


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Asclepias cancellata




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Description

(Wild Cotton) From the winter rainfall area of southern Africa, this shrubby and unusual Milkweed is especially common in the Western Cape region.  An especially tough plant, we have noted that the Monarch larvae that migrate through our area seem to prefer this over all other species.

The endangered Monarch butterfly is particularly drawn to the milkweed family ( Asclepiadaceae), which includes this plant.

Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweeds, because those are the only plants their caterpillars will eat. The roughness of fuzzy milkweed foliage makes it easier for eggs and chrysalises to cling to the plants. Monarch caterpillars consume powerful chemicals in the leaves protecting them as babies and adults against predators for whom the chemicals are toxic. Perhaps it is these chemicals that make deer avoid the plant.

This particular milkweed is a shrubby perennial in USDA zones where winter temperatures are warmer. In zones with colder winters, it works well as a bedding plant. When grown as an annual, Wild Cotton can be cut back in late autumn and moved indoors to overwinter. But don't forget to reduce watering and place it in a cool, but sunny location.

Unlike Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), this species doesn't have a taproot. This means that it is easier to control the plant's spread.

In the past few years, much has been written about the problems as well as the benefits that Tropical Milkweed species present for Monarch butterflies. Butterflies adore these lush bloomers, which offer plentiful nectar and provide what is becoming scarce -- lodging for Monarch larvae.

However, where these plants persist outdoors during winter, Monarchs may not complete their migration to Mexico. This creates a number of difficulties, including illness for the butterflies. The best way to avoid this problem in warm regions is to cut all species of Tropical Milkweeds to the ground during autumn.

 

Details

Product rating
 
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In stock
7 item(s) available

Common name  
Wild Cotton
USDA Zones  
8 -11
Size (h/w/fh)  
48"/48"/48"
Exposure  
Full sun
Soil type  
Well drained
Water needs  
Water loving
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
Yes
Synonym  
Gomphocarpus cancellatus
Our price
10.50

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Quantity (7 available)

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Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
Click on an individual icon for more detailed information.

Exposure

Full sun
Full sun
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant

Garden Uses

Container plant
Container plant

Growing Habit

8 -11
8 -11
48 inches tall
48 inches tall
48 inches wide
48 inches wide
Perennial
Perennial
Shrub
Shrub

Water Needs

Average water
Average water
Drought resistant
Drought resistant

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming
Spring blooming
Spring blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Butterflies
Butterflies
Deer resistant
Deer resistant
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    In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. This is absolutely our favorite. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.

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    Mexican Cardinalflower is another common name for Sierra Madre Cardinal Flower. In its scientific name, the term laxiflora refers to the looseness of this long-blooming, clump-spreading plant's flower stems. Angustifolia concerns the narrowness of its shiny leaves.

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  • Salvia africana-lutea 'Kirstenbosch'

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  • Salvia canariensis f. candidissimum

    (Wooly Canary Island Sage) The pale magenta, parrot-beak flowers of this sage, supported by deeper magenta bracts, heat up the landscape. But when you get close, it may be the velvety texture of the foliage that makes you sigh.

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  • Salvia somalensis

    (Somalian Mountain Sage) Large, powder-blue flowers combine with 4-inch-long, furry, lime-green leaves -- a winning combination at bloom time from summer into fall. The flowers are unusual, because they generally grow on the branchlets and the terminal end of each stem.

    This sage from the high-elevation forest lands of Somalia grows well in full sun to partial shade. Although drought tolerant and a good choice for dry gardens, it thrives in normal garden conditions of average, well-drained soil and average watering based on local conditions.

    Somalian Mountain Sage looks pretty in perennial borders and cut-flower gardens where it can grow up to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Container planting also works well and limits growth.

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  • Agastache x 'Kudos Coral'

    (Kudos Coral Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of deep coral flowers are accented by mid-green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Coral is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.

    Agastaches are ideal companion plants for Salvias and beneficial choices for attracting butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Similar to so many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) -- such as sages -- they thrive in low-fertility soils, but need excellent drainage.

    Kudos Coral is a fragrant, long-blooming Agastache developed by Oregon's Terra Nova Nurseries.


    Most Agastaches are native to the Southwest and Northern Mexico. These are the most heat- and drought-tolerant members of the genus. In contrast, some species -- such as the Asian Agastache rugosa -- can handle more moisture and colder winters. This one does well in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 5.

    By crossing Southwestern species with varieties of Agastache rugosa, you gain the best of both types as in the Kudos Series. Kudos Agastaches are more compact, floriferous, long flowering and weather-resistant than most Agastaches. Their non-browning calyces create long-lasting color that endures even when blossoms are gone.

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  • Agastache x 'Kudos Mandarin'

    (Kudos Mandarin Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of creamy orange flowers are accented by deep green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Mandarin is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.

    Agastaches are ideal companion plants for Salvias and beneficial choices for attracting butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Similar to so many members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) -- such as sages -- they thrive in low-fertility soils, but need excellent drainage.

    Kudos Mandarin is a fragrant, long-blooming Agastache developed by Oregon's Terra Nova Nurseries.

    Most Agastaches are native to the Southwest and Northern Mexico. These are the most heat- and drought-tolerant members of the genus. In contrast, some species -- such as the Asian Agastache rugosa -- can handle more moisture and colder winters.

    By crossing Southwestern species with varieties of Agastache rugosa, you gain the best of both types as in the Kudos Series. This one grows well in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 5. Kudos Agastaches are more tidy and upright, floriferous, long flowering and weather-resistant than most Agastaches. Their non-browning calyces create long-lasting color that endures even when blossoms are gone.

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I like Amstiad

Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.


  1. Go tubular. Hummingbirds need tubular flowers that are easy for long, thin beaks to access.
  2. Provide lots of color. Think of yourself as a cafeteria manager who needs to provide many tempting choices in order to attract business. Red, pink, orange and purple sages are particularly powerful hummingbird magnets.
  3. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based not only on color but also a broad span of bloom times. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons. Numerous winter-blooming species are available for areas that are home to hummingbirds year round.
  4. Grow sages native to the Western Hemisphere. Although hummingbirds will take advantage of many kinds of tubular flowering plants, these tiny birds are native to the Western Hemisphere and prefer flowering plants native to their half of the world.
  5. Select Salvia companion plants. Hummingbirds appreciate a variety of favorite tubular-flowered plants.
  6. Plant hummingbird gardens near cover. Trees and bushes surrounding feeding areas provide protection from predators and chilly, rainy weather.
  7. Don't use pesticides. Insects provide protein for hummingbirds, so don't kill these food sources.
  8. Provide water. Hummingbirds frolic in misters and shallow birdbaths.
  9. Supplement plantings with feeder tubes. Change the sugar water every few days and don't add food coloring. Keep the feeders clean, but don't scrub them with soaps or detergents. Here is more feeder care information.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about hummingbirds.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them:


  1. Plant sages with platform-type blossoms. Unlike hummingbirds, butterflies can't hover while feeding. Sages with large lower lips and short nectar tubes, such as those in the Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla) group, give butterflies a place to stand while gathering nectar and pollen.
  2. Provide lots of color and sunlight. Butterflies need to stay warm and are attracted to a broad range of flower colors.
  3. Include native species. Insects and plants have co-evolved to meet each other's needs within their native regions. Butterflies prefer feeding on their local, native perennials and shrubs.
  4. Grow Caterpillar Host Plants. Butterflies need baby nurseries. Some are extremely picky about the plants on which they lay eggs, such as Monarchs, which need milkweeds (Asclepias spp.). The North American Butterfly Association is a good source of information about host plants.
  5. Don't use pesticides. They kill many beneficial insects, including butterflies.
  6. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based on bloom times as well as color and shape. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons.
  7. Provide puddles. Butterflies stay hydrated by splashing in puddles located in sunny spots on the ground or raised up in shallow birdbaths. Include rocks for basking; butterflies need to dry and warm their wings.
  8. Plant butterfly gardens near shelter. Butterflies need to be able to flee into trees, shrubbery and woodpiles when predators appear and when windy or rainy weather occurs.
  9. Supplement plantings with rotten fruit. Some butterflies love the juice of rotting fruit even more than nectar.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about butterflies.

Hey, got any greens?

If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.


  1. Mask smells that deer like with aromatic sages. Deer and other members of the Cervidae family, such as elk, mostly leave Salvias alone. One theory is that they don't like the fragrance or taste of sage chemicals. Strategically planting sages near vegetable gardens or fruit trees -- elixir to deer -- may prevent consumption.
  2. Grow hedges including Salvias. Prickly hedges, including hairy-leafed Salvias and exceptionally thorny roses, can discourage deer from entering your yard. They don't like the mouth-feel of those textures. Tall hedges also hide strawberry beds and other yummy plantings from view.
  3. Don't overplant one species. Grow a variety of Salvias in case local deer take an unexpected liking to one species of sage.
  4. Fence deer out. Install electric fences or 8-foot wood or metal fences around particularly vulnerable areas. Make sure electric fencing is turned on during the peak feeding seasons of early spring and late fall.
  5. Use motion-detection tools. Install outdoor lighting that is activated by movement.
  6. Let the dogs out. Deer are especially wary of large dogs.
  7. Surround and cover. Wrap tough plastic around the trunks of trees that have tasty bark and cover foliage with bird netting when trees and bushes are fruiting.
  8. Change yard ornaments periodically. Objects such as scarecrows, statuary and cordons of monofilament string with strips of shiny foil attached cause deer to shy away.
  9. Make safe choices. Research repellants you plan to use to make sure they aren't poisonous.
  10. Be flexible and ready to share a bit. There is no such thing as a completely deer-resistant garden.